What is POS Software?

Point of sale software comes in many flavors, made by many different companies. It is frequently targeted for specific types of businesses, though some vendors design their products to accommodate every kind of establishment. Many of the biggest businesses in the retail and service industries have either written their own custom POS software, tailored specifically for their business or engaged one of the largest vendors like NCR or Toshiba to write custom software to their specification. However, the vast majority of businesses are running POS software that they purchase from a vendor. In some cases, tech savvy business owners can do all the configuration and set-up themselves. In other cases they work with the vendor directly, or a 3rd party consulting organization to help do set-up and configuration.

POS software is more than an electronic cash register. At its most advanced its purpose is really to help you run your business, and almost all aspects of it sales, inventory, accounting, payroll, customer tracking and marketing. Choosing the right software for your business is critical, with the right balance between price, usability, functionality, and ease of set-up. There are other factors to consider, like the reliability of the vendor and the ability to migrate data from the system to another system if you ever change vendors.

POS software has helped business become both more efficient and more profitable and its proliferation in the last fifteen years combined with the push to standardize the protocols and the drop in price of both the software and the hardware it runs on has made POS a possibility for every business. A brief history of POS software, from its original implementation using IBM mainframes to its current incarnation running on standard PCs can be found here.

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